Preventing domestic violence, child abuse in bunkhouses

Wenna Berondo (The Freeman) - May 24, 2014 - 12:00am

ESTANCIA, ILOILO, Philippines — "Being a father is not just a term. Fathers are partners in running the households and bringing up the children," said Ronnie Fuentes, 36, father of three children.

Ronnie, one of the occupants of the bunkhouses for typhoon and oil spill victims in Barangay Gogo of this town in Iloilo, made this reaction after attending a "session for fathers" held right at the bunkhouses recently.

Being the only one who earns a living for the family, Ronnie, a fisherman, admitted he sometimes forget that he has also a responsibility to fulfill as a husband and a father. "Good thing there is a lecture like this. We have learned a lot about our obligations as fathers," he said.

At least 35 fathers attended the lecture conducted by a team composed of mostly men from the DSWD-6 regional office, the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office and the Empowerment and Reaffirmation of Paternal Abilities Training.

During the activity it was noticed that the fathers are more participative when a man is sharing in front of them. "They have different reactions when a man is speaking in front of them. They can relate better, especially if the speaker tells them his own experiences, they would nod in affirmation," said Eduardo Guevarra, social welfare officer and focal person on Women, Family and Community of the DSWD-6.

Fathers were made to differentiate "sex" from "gender," identify the roles of both men and women and taught how to be more gender sensitive.

In his lecture, DSWD-6 regional accountant Hector Roldan Provendido reminded the men that they should treat their wives well because staying at home taking care of the children and looking after the family's needs is not an easy task.

If the husband has to pay his wife for every work that she does at home, Provendido said the husband's monthly earnings would not be even enough to pay her day's work. "They were quite surprised that they have to pay that big if they will pay their wives every work they do. But they understood that it's not easy being a housewife," he explained.

Guevarra said domestic violence happens because many men, who are often tagged as the perpetrators, still believe they are more superior than women. With the help of ERPAT they are hoping that men will become more informed and violence on women, including children, will lessen if not totally eradicated.

Meanwhile, Josie Cambell, DSWD-6's training specialist, emphasized during her session with the mothers how to be resilient during disasters. She said resiliency should not be practiced only during typhoons but even before it or after it.

"We should have preparatory measures. We should not only react when it is already there," she said. The preparatory measure, she added, include prevention of abuses, especially on children, even inside the evacuation centers.

With this, she advised mothers to always keep an eye on their children, especially girls. Since one unit in the bunkhouse has only one room, she said the mothers should sleep with their daughters.

At present, there are 69 families or a total of 313 persons living in the bunkhouses. Of the 313 individuals, 157 are male and 156 are female. Seventeen of the families are beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps). (FREEMAN)

BARANGAY GOGO CHILDREN EDUARDO GUEVARRA FAMILY AND COMMUNITY HECTOR ROLDAN PROVENDIDO JOSIE CAMBELL PANTAWID PAMILYANG PILIPINO PROGRAM PROVINCIAL SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT OFFICE AND THE EMPOWERMENT AND REAFFIRMATION OF PATERNAL ABILITIES TRAINING RONNIE RONNIE FUENTES
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